eHealth Care: Chilean AI might dramatically improve Covid contact tracing tech

Contxto– Sabrina Sepúlveda, a Chilean scientist, has created a mobile kit for detecting Covid-19 by means of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The kit uses an algorithm that, in combination with the patient’s symptoms, helps identify if there is a risk of infection prior to a PCR testing, the standard procedure.  

As of October 2020, two Latin American countries, Brazil and Colombia, are among the top five countries with the most Covid-19 registered cases in the world. 

Among the problems faced in Latin America are insufficient testing and the saturation of primary healthcare services due to erroneous diagnosis.

Amidst this scenario, Sabrina Sepulveda, an academic from Chile’s Universidad Mayor, created eHealth care, a startup that seeks to introduce high-end technology to emergency rooms and hospitals in general. 

This is part of a series of initiatives by Latin American startups to aid healthcare systems during the COVID-19 pandemic, though much more elaborate in comparison. 

How eHealth Care works

Sepulveda developed an AI technology destined to facilitate the process of diagnosing Covid-19, as well as safely centralizing data in an efficient manner and improving contact tracing —the process of identifying an infected person’s contact with other people—.

This self-testing tool can be taken anywhere provided you have the mobile app (eHealth Care Covid-19) and an electronic sensor that measures the person’s temperature, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and blood pressure. 

Although not exactly a precise diagnosing tool, this technology can help rule out non-infected patients without having them visit local hospitals, thus preventing unnecessary saturation of emergency rooms.

Latin American artificial intelligence during Covid-19

Several companies in Latin America use AI to help health professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic.

View-Factor in Bolivia and in El Salvador use these technologies to measure people’s temperature in order to identify possible cases at a distance, while Roomie IT in Mexico created a robot that can screen patients in clinics.

Colombian Predicto AI wants to make these technologies widely available on smartphones so they can be used in almost every context, and the Chilean government has been working with startup Cognitiva to aid people in identifying symptoms without leaving their houses.

There have even been developments in surveillance AI technology to detect if people are wearing masks incorrectly, not keeping safe distance, or if a venue has gone beyond its capacity. Who knows, maybe soon they will even know which side of the bed you sleep on!

You may ask, what good could possibly come out of a global contingency such as the one we’re going through at this moment in history? Well, if you want to be optimistic, there have been important developments in technology that were probably accelerated due to the pandemic, and Latin America is at the vanguard of these advancements.  


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